family holidays in Ireland

Family HolidaysHolidays in IrelandTrending Posts

The Best Family Hotels in Ireland For All Tastes And Budgets

Alex Keem bay (1)

Planning a family holiday in Ireland – I’ve got you covered. This post on family hotels in Ireland includes three, four and five-star hotels, across many counties in Ireland.

Whether you want an Airbnb on the Wild Atlantic Way, a luxury lodge on hotel grounds, or a short break in a family hotel, this post on the best family hotels in Ireland should have something to suit you. Almost all hotels listed have swimming pools, kids clubs or kids activities, and all are recommended for families on TripAdvisor. 

family holidays in ireland

However, it is important to point out that not all hotel facilities may be in operation. With this in mind, I recommend booking a room with free cancellation, incase there are any changes to facilities, or you need to cancel your booking at the last minute.

Most of these family hotels in Ireland include my affiliate links – where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.
 

 

 

3-Star Family Hotels in Ireland

The Connacht Hotel, Galway

Connacht Hotel

The Connacht Hotel has been a firm favourite with families and groups for many years. Its close proximity to Galway city, superb leisure facilities and wide selection of room types, are just some of the reasons. Recently refurbished it now boasts family rooms, bunk bed family rooms, suites and self-catering apartments.

Unlike most family hotels in Ireland, the kids club operates at weekends year round, and daily during school holidays, with indoor and outdoor activities are organised for children. 

Check prices here
 

 

 

 

Quality Hotel Youghal, Cork

quality hotel youghal - hotels with lodges in ireland

The beachfront apartments and houses in the Quality Hotel Youghal are always popular with Irish holidaymakers. There are two-bedroomed apartments that sleep up to five, as well as holiday homes that sleep up to seven. They are very affordable and allow you enjoy all the facilities of a hotel, while enjoying the benefits of spacious self catering accommodation. With a gym, spa and swimming pool on site, you will be spoilt for choice.
 

 

 
Special events, a kids camp and movie shows are also available throughout school holidays. The resort has a range of dining options, including bar food, pizzas available for take-away, as well as the Capel Island Restaurant. Musical entertainment is also available in the Coast Bar.

View offer here
 

 

 

 

The Inn at Dromoland, Clare

Family Staycations Over The October Mid Term Break - The Inn at Dromoland Hotel

Situated on the famous Dromoland Estate, The Inn at Dromoland offers endless outdoor walks over 450 acres of countryside. With Bunratty Castle, the Cliffs of Moher and beaches  just a short drive away, there are plenty of options for outdoor pursuits, as well as an indoor pool with separate kids pool at the hotel. This is one of the best value family hotels in Ireland.

Check prices here
 

 

 

Kenmare Bay & Resort Hotel, Kerry

kenmare bay hotel deals for families

Located just a short stroll from one of Ireland’s prettiest towns is the popular Kenmare Bay Hotel and Resort. Complete with a state-of-the-art leisure centre, kids club, summer camps, playground and kids’ play room, its not surprising that it is one of Kerry’s most popular family hotels. There is a dedicated Kids’ Corner in the restaurant with games and DVD’s, so you can enjoy a quiet meal while the kids play happily. 
 

 

 
Family rooms are particularly good value for such a prime location, but if you prefer something more spacious, holiday homes and luxury lodges are also available.

Check prices here
 

 

 

Inishowen Gateway Hotel, Donegal

Family hotels on the wild atlantic way

The Inishowen Gateway Hotel is located on the unspoilt Inishowen peninsula on the Wild Atlantic Way. Overlooking Lisfannon beach, with Buncranna on your doorstep, this is an ideal choice for families looking to explore Donegal and its stunning coastline.
 

 

 
It boasts a leisure centre with a 20 metre pool, kids pool, sauna and jacuzzi, and a Planet Active kids club that operates during school holidays, with nightly movie shows. Large family rooms are available as well as interconnecting rooms.

Check prices here
 

 

 

4-Star Family Hotels in Ireland

 Amber Springs, Wexford

Amber Springs is one of the best family hotels in Ireland

Amber Springs is without a doubt one of the best family hotels in Ireland and it is not difficult to see why. There are so many facilities to keep kids entertained, including Amber Park with go karting, mini golf, archery and the Amber Express train. If the weather is not in your favour, you don’t need to worry, there is a playzone with state-of-the-art jungle gym, a tween room with air hockey and foosball, and a VR room with gaming consoles. There is also an indoor pool and a cinema!
 

 

 
And if all of that wasn’t enough there is a birds of play display, reptile show, dancing games and lots more fun activities in the kids club. There is a wide selection of family rooms to choose from, including the Amber family den suite, which has two sets of bunk beds, sleeping up to four children.

Read: Top things to do in Wexford with kids.

Check prices here
 

 

 

Hodson Bay, Athlone, Co. Westmeath

best family hotels in Ireland - Hodson Bay Hotel

The 4-star Hodson Bay hotel boasts a wonderful lakeside location on the shores of Lough Ree. As well as a 20 metre pool and an award-winning spa, it also has a Kids Adventure Club which includes cookery school, music & dance, arts & crafts, treasure hunts and lots more.
 

 

 
As well as superb facilities on site, the world’s tallest inflatable waterslide at Baysports waterpark is located close by. Kayaking, Stand Up Paddle Boarding and pedal boats are also available here, making the Hodson Bay Hotel one of the most popular family hotels in Ireland, especially during the summer months.

Check prices here
 

 

 

Mount Wolseley Hotel, Spa & Golf Resort, Carlow

family breaks in ireland - mount wolseley self catering lodges

Famous for its championship golf course and award-winning spa, Mount Wolseley is ideal for a family looking for luxury lodges with full access to all the hotel facilities, including its 20 metre swimming pool. 

Children are well looked after with a kiddies pool, zip line, soft play area, and a teen zone which is open until 11pm daily. There is also a kids club for children aged 4-12 during school holidays, a playground, tennis and basketball courts. 

Read: 20 Hotels with lodges in Ireland

Check prices here
 

 

 

Diamond Coast Hotel, Sligo

best places to stay on the wild atlantic way

Located on one of Ireland’s best beaches, the Diamond Coast Hotel is one of the best places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way. There are a host of water sports available and the family friendly hotel has a Kids Club that operates during school holidays, which is suitable for older kids and teens too. An added bonus is that Water Point Aqua Park is close by, with surfing, boat trips and pitch and putt also available.
 

 

 
The Diamond Coast Hotel is one of the few hotels on this list that doesn’t have a swimming pool on site, but with a stunning beach on your doorstep, and a host of outdoor activities available, you won’t need it! It also has some of the largest family hotel rooms in Ireland – they can sleep up to 8!

Read: Best places to stay on the Wild Atlantic Way

Check prices here
 

 

 

Parknasilla Resort & Spa, Kerry

hotels in ireland with lodges on grounds

Parknasilla is one of our most famous hotels and is also one of the best family hotels in Ireland. Its stunning location between the Ring of Kerry and the Beara Peninsula, as well as the superb on site facilities, ensure guests return year after year.
 

 

 
The two and three-bedroom lodges and villas are ideal for groups and families. Guests have full use of the hotel facilities including the award-winning spa, resort dining, indoor pool, outdoor hot tubs, fairy trails, treasure trails, playground,  mini golf and small beach. Astro and seashore discovery walks are available as well as boat trips, sea kayaking, and a meet the owls experience with Ring of Kerry Falconry. 

Read: 20 Hotels with lodges in Ireland

See more here
 

 

 

Clayton Hotel Sligo

Benbulben
Photo by Andreas Brunn, Unsplash.

Set on beautiful grounds overlooking Benbulben Mountain, yet within walking distance of Sligo Town centre, the 4-star Clayton Sligo ticks all boxes for a family holiday in Ireland. The leisure centre has a 20 metre pool and a separate kids pool, and there is a playroom, games room, an 18-hole crazy golf course on site.
 

 

 
A kids club and kids disco operate during school holidays and a new multi-sensory room is also available for children with additional needs. Family suites will sleep two adults and three children and two-bedroom suites are also available. 

Check prices here
 

 

 

Breaffy House Resort, Mayo

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


Breaffy House Resort consists of two hotels set on 90 acres. The Breaffy House Hotel and Breaffy Woods Hotel are just two minutes walk from each other, and there are large family rooms that sleep up to six. There are also self catering lodges located at Breaffy Woods Hotel. The two-bedroom residences have been newly refurbished to a four-star standard and sleep up to four people. We stayed here during the summer and loved them.
 

 

 
Guests have complimentary use of all resort facilities including 20 metre swimming pool, paddling pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room, gymnasium and award-winning spa. Children are well catered for with two playgrounds, crazy golf, GAA pitch and plenty of opportunities for forest walks. 

Read: 10 reasons to choose Breaffy House Resort for your next staycation

Check prices here
 

 

 

Dingle Skellig, Kerry

Dunquin, Kerry

Dingle is always a good choice for a family holiday in Ireland and the Dingle Skellig Hotel caters very well for kids of all ages. The award-winning leisure club and pool is available for all guests, and there is a dedicated children’s pool with waterfall and bubble feature. There are gorgeous beaches nearby as well as Dingle’s popular Oceanworld Aquarium.

Check prices here
 

 

 

Castlerosse Park Resort & Holiday Homes, Kerry

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


We stayed in one of the Castlerosse two bedroomed cottages a few years ago and had a great family holiday experience. The cottages are extremely spacious and are located just 100 meters from the hotel. Guests of the cottages have full use of the hotel facilities including the swimming pool and kids club. 
 

 

 
The Castlerosse hotel overlooks its own 9 hole golf course, the Killarney Lakes and the Magillicuddy Reeks. They even have their own resident deer on the grounds. I really enjoyed the 2km walk through the National Park to Killarney town. There are plenty of dining options, including a pizza delivery service to your cottage.

family holiday in Killarney with self catering lodges

There is so much to see and do in Killarney including the National Park, Muckross House and Gardens and Torc Waterfall. We travelled around the Ring of Kerry too – read what I got up to on my blog.

Read: My family holiday in Killarney

Check prices here
 

 

 

Clifden Station House Apartments, Galway

hotels with lodges in connemara

This unique hotel was once an old railway station. It has been beautifully restored and manages to combine the old brick and native oak with modern furnishings. Its location in the upmarket town of Clifden is ideal for anyone who wants shops, bars and restaurants close by, but also wants to get out and about and explore the rugged coastline of Connemara.
 

 

 
The four-star, two and three-bedroom apartments are a great choice for family holiday in Ireland. All guests have full use of the hotel facilities including the swimming pool and leisure facilities, and children can enjoy the Railway Kids Club which operators during school holidays.

Read: 20 Hotels with lodges in Ireland

Check prices here
 

 

 

Hotel Westport, Mayo

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)

The Hotel Westport is located in the grounds of Westport House and just five minutes walk from the centre of Westport town.  With the Great Western Greenway, Croagh Patrick and a host of stunning beaches nearby, the location couldn’t be better.
 
Families love the leisure centre with 20 metre pool and kids splash pool, as well as the family-friendly menus available. There is a choice of room options available including standard family rooms, premier family rooms, interconnecting rooms and luxury suites.

Check prices here
 

 

 

Fitzgerald’s Woodlands House Hotel, Limerick

kids club at Woodlands House Hotel

The Woodlands House Hotel is one of the most popular family hotels in Ireland. With a mini pet farm, Woody’s Kid’s Club, Woodlands Fairy Trail, as well as a and a family toddler pool in the Leisure Centre, it has plenty to keep the kids entertained. I’m told the kids menus are pretty good too! 

As well as the host of onsite facilities, the opportunities for day trips are endless, with Bunratty Folk Park, the Ballyhoura Mountain Bike Trail and the Cliffs of Moher all close by.
 

 

 
Family Rooms are ideal for families of up to two adults and three children, and interconnecting family rooms for larger families are also available.

Check prices here
 

 

 

Lahinch Coast Hotel & Suites, Clare

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Lahinch Surf School Ireland (@lahinchsurfschool)

With Lahinch beach located just a short stroll from the hotel, and a wide selection of activities on site, you will be spoilt for choice at the Lahinch Coast Hotel.  The Leisure Centre boasts a 17 metre pool, kids pool, steam room, sauna, jacuzzi, and gym and there is a kids club that operates during school holidays. 
 

 

 
With Aillwee Cave and the Bird of Prey Centre as well as the Cliffs of Moher and Bunratty Castle Folk Park all close by, there are plenty of opportunities for family days out.

Check prices here
 

 

 

Clonakilty Park Hotel, Cork 

best family hotels in Ireland

This Clonakilty Park Hotel is a popular choice with families due to its superb facilities. There is an award-winning leisure centre, a play zone with separate teen area, and a Kids Kamp during school holidays. A three-screen cinema, outdoor playground, high ropes and zip wire adventure centre, and family friendly dining options are also located within the complex.

The hotel offers family rooms as well as two-bedroom apartments and three-bedroom holiday homes.

View offer here
 

 

 

Gleneagle River Apartments, Killarney 

swimming pool at Gleneagle hotel Killarney

Located next to the Gleneagle Hotel Killarney, and providing access to its Aquila Club leisure facilities and kids clubs, it is no surprise that the Gleneagle River apartments are one of Killarney’s most popular family apartments. These spacious two bedroom apartments offer all the advantages of self catering, with hotel facilities on your doorstep. 

Read: 20 Hotels with lodges in Ireland

View offer here
 

 

 

Delphi Adventure Resort Hotel, Galway

family hotels in Ireland - Delphi Resort

Delphi Resort is one of Ireland’s best known adventure resorts, so it is ideal for an active family holiday. You can take part in over 20 different outdoor adventure sports, with the added advantage of staying in a four-star hotel. Kayak the Killary Fjord, surf the Wild Atlantic Way, or brave the Zip’n’Trek aerial course.
 

 

 
There is a free morning kids club during school holidays and lots of family friendly activities available. The hotel also offers family package rates including meals and activities. There is a choice of room options including family rooms and suites. 

Surrounded by 200 acres of forest, Delphi Resort is also nature lovers paradise, and their thermal suite is the ideal place to heal any aches and pains at the end of the day. This is one of the best family hotels in Ireland for outdoor enthusiasts.

Check prices here
 

 

 

Mulranny Park Hotel, Mayo

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


The Mulranny Park Hotel boasts an idyllic location overlooking Clew Bay and Croagh Patrick Mountain, and also happens to be located on most scenic section of Great Western Greenway. You can swim in the Blue Flag Mulranny Beach, cycle on the Greenway, or take a trip to Achill and discover some of Ireland’s hidden beaches.
 

 

 
If you just want to stay at the hotel, thats fine too – the Mulranny Park Hotel has an indoor leisure centre and Great Fun Club which operates during summer holidays. As well as standard and deluxe rooms, its also boasts two-bedroom apartment suites which are very popular with families.

Check prices here
 

 

 

Faithlegg Hotel & Apartments, Waterford

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


The stylish Faithlegg Hotel is an 18th century mansion, set in a woodland location overlooking the Suir estuary in County Waterford. Families love the Mews Holiday Homes as they offer access to all the facilities at the hotel’s leisure centre, including the swimming pool, jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and gym, along with the option of health and beauty treatments.
 

 

 
The complimentary tennis courts and reduced Green Fees at Faithlegg’s 18-hole championship golf course are another reason to choose this popular hotel, as is its Bird of Prey experience and close proximity to Waterford city and the Waterford Greenway.

Read: Top Things to do in the Munster Vales

 
 

 

Castleknock Hotel, Dublin

dublin hotels with swimming pools - Castleknock Hotel

If you want to stay in Dublin, but want to feel like you are in the countryside, the Castleknock Hotel might be the choice for you. Set in lush grounds with an onsite golf course,  you may decide not to venture into the city centre at all.

Children will love the playground and swimming pool, and don’t miss the opportunity to pop into nearby Phoenix Park, the children would love meet the resident deer or visit Dublin Zoo.

Check prices here   
 

 

 

Kellys Resort Hotel & Spa, Wexford

Kelly's Resort Hotel, Wexford - luxury family hotels in Ireland

Perched on five miles of sandy beach, with award winning cuisine and a host of activities for children, it is no surprise that Kelly’s Resort Hotel is considered one of best luxury family hotels in Ireland. Although officially only a four star hotel, the service and facilities on site deserve five stars.

There is non stop entertainment for both adults and children, with kids clubs, mini-golf and a multi-award winning spa, all on site. If you can manage to tear yourself away from the hotel, (many don’t), there are lots of things to do in Wexford with kids.

The food is superb, with an extensive buffet (probably one of the best I’ve seen) and an a la carte restaurant, where parents are encouraged to dine alone, while the kids enjoy the buffet with their new found friends. There is complimentary child minding from 7-9pm which allows for a romantic dinner for two, a rarity for parents with young children. 

Read: Is Kelly’s is the best family hotel in Ireland?
 

 

 

Newpark Hotel, Kilkenny

family hotels in Ireland - Newpark Hotel Kilkenny

The Newpark Hotel is one of the best family hotels in Ireland – I have no doubt your kids will agree! It was voted Family Friendly Hotel of the year in 2020 at Georgina Campbell Irish Food & Hospitality Awards, the fact that there is a wildlife park and a go-karting track (8+) on site might have something to do with that!
 

 

 
Children will love meeting the llamas, emus, rabbits and donkeys, and there are over 40 acres of parkland to explore. There is also a fairy trail, treetop zip line, sandpit with diggers, seasonal kids club including weekend evening sessions, and a swimming pool. There are dedicated family rooms and interconnecting suites which can sleep families of five. 

Check prices here
 

 

 

Waterford Castle Lodges, Waterford

hotels with lodges in ireland - waterford castle

We enjoyed a wonderful stay in the lodges at Waterford Castle a few years ago. They were designed by Paul Costello and are both stylish and spacious. As well as being able to enjoy the facilities of the Waterford Castle Hotel, our kids loved that we were on an island, and needed a boat to get to our hotel.
 

 

 
Despite no swimming pool on site, this unique 310-acre island resort deserves a place on this list of best family hotels in Ireland. There are many activities available including tennis and basketball courts, clay pigeon shooting, falconry and a junior golf camp that operates during the summer holidays.

There are also many nature walks throughout the island and plenty of opportunities to spot the resident deer and fairy doors.  Located in Waterford, a cycle on the Waterford Greenway will complete the ultimate family holiday experience.

Read: 20 Hotels with lodges in Ireland

See more here
 

 

 

The Lakeside Hotel and Leisure Centre, Clare

waterslide at family lakeside hotel in Clare

I must confess I did not know about the Lakeside Hotel until this summer, despite it being one of the best family hotels in Ireland. Located on the banks of the river Shannon, you can avail of Stand Up Paddle boarding, kayaking, mountain biking and lots more activities in the nearby University of Limerick Adventure Centre.
 

 

 
Children will love the leisure centre too, with swimming pool and 40 metre waterslide, as well as the complimentary milk and cookies at bedtime.

Family rooms are spacious and come with a mini fridge.The possibilities for day trips are endless, with Bunratty Folk Park, the Cliffs of Moher, a choice of beaches, and a local Chocolate factory, all close by. 

Check prices here
 

 

 

5-star Family Hotels in Ireland

Castlemartyr Resort, Cork

five star hotels in ireland with lodges

The 5-Star Castlemartyr Resort is dramatically set on 220 acres, with a 17th century country manor house adjacent to the ruins of an 800-year-old-castle. There is a wide selection of room types including two-bedroom suites, interconnecting rooms and two and three-bedroom self-catering lodges. Some of the two-bedroom lodges also allow pets.
 

 

 
Regardless of room type, families can enjoy full access to the resorts grounds, dining options, golf, health club, spa and kids club which runs during school holidays. Treasure Hunts, movie nights, children’s afternoon tea and garden games are also part of the family experience. 

Check prices here
 

 

 

Druids Glen Hotel & Golf Resort, Wicklow

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


We enjoyed a wonderful overnight stay at Druids Glen a few years go. Its close proximity to Dublin makes it an ideal choice for a short break for Dubliners, or for anyone looking to explore Wicklow’s highlights. Glendalough, Powerscourt and Clara Lara fun park are close by, as are the beaches of Brittas Bay and Curracloe.
 

 

 
Druids Glen caters extremely well for families. The standard rooms have two double beds and come with small bathrobes and slippers for children. Interconnecting rooms are also available if you want more privacy or have older children.

The 6km walking trail has a fairy forest and the hotel provides picnic hampers (additional cost) for you to enjoy beside the brook. There is a playground and mini soccer pitch and extra activities available during school holidays including the Kids High Tea Club. Family swim times are available in the 18 metre indoor pool, and kids movies are shown twice daily.

Read: My review of Druids Glen Hotel & Resort

Check prices here
 

 

 

Fota Island Resort, Cork

fota island resort

One of our family favourites, we have visited Fota Island Resort on many occasions. We stayed in interconnecting hotel rooms on one occasion and one of the new three-bedroom Fushia lodges during a different visit. We loved both experiences but if your budget allows, I would opt for the lodges – they are superb. The children were able to play in the large back garden and we even had some resident rabbits join us each morning for breakfast.
 

 

 
The hotel has a large outdoor playground, an indoor pool and a kids playroom. There are also lots of kids clubs and golf camps for kids of all ages, during school holidays. The restaurant has supervised kids buffets followed by movie nights and quizzes, so parents can enjoy a date night if they wish. 

One of the advantages of staying in Fota Island Resort is its close proximity to Fota Wildlife Park. My children loved seeing the kangaroos and lemurs roaming free, something they wouldn’t normally see in a traditional zoo. Fota Island Resort is also very close to Cobh where you can take the Titanic experience tour, or take the boat trip to spooky Spike Island, to explore the fortress that once held 2300 prisoners. 

 

Read: A VIP experience at Fota Wildlife Park

Check prices here
 

 

 

Mount Juliet Estate, Kilkenny

luxury family hotels in Ireland - mount juliet

Mount Juliet is one of Ireland’s finest hotels and is one of the most popular luxury family hotels in Ireland. We stayed here recently and had a fantastic experience. The grounds, the facilities and the choice of dining options are superb. You can choose to stay in the Manor House, as we did, or the more modern Hunters Yard, which I’m told caters extremely well for families, and offers great value too.
 

 

 
I was surprised at the extensive children’s activities available in Mount Juliet. There is a large playground with a zip line, as well as a fairy trail located in the gardens. Extensive kids clubs operate during school holidays, (extra charge applies), so parents can enjoy a round of golf or spa treatment while the kids avail of the supervised activities. 
 

 

 
There are two kids clubs, one from age 5-12 and the other 12+. Activities range from archery, equestrian and meet the owls, to baking, golf, treasure hunts and arts and crafts. It is important to check activities in advance with Mount Juliet as some activities may change. There are also evening activities such as a talent show and movie nights, and children can dine with their new pals giving parents the opportunity to have a date night.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

There is also a leisure centre and equestrian centre which we loved. I tried horse riding for the first time with my daughter Alex and it was fabulous! We trotted past the Manor House, through the woods and along side the golf course – it is an experience I would highly recommend. 

Read: My review of Mount Juliet Estate

Check prices here
 

 

 

Lough Erne Resort, Fermanagh 

Luxury Family Hotels in Northern Ireland - Lough Erne Resort

This luxury hotel is situated on a 600 acre peninsula overlooking two championship golf courses and lower Lough Erne lake. The lodges are a huge attraction, with conical roofs that look straight out a fairytale.
 

 

 
The food at the hotel is superb and there are are lots of options to choose from, with a fine dining restaurant, a Loughside Bar and Grill, as well as some tasty bar food. The large indoor pool allows for family swims from 8am – 11am  and 4.30pm-530pm. There is also an unsupervised play room, Ernies Den, with table football, air hockey and lots more.  

 

There are some excellent walks around the hotel golf course with stunning views over the lakes. There are also more arduous walks close by, the famous Stairway to Heaven boardwalk at Culcaigh Mountain, being one of them. This is more suited to older children as it is a 15km round trip with 450 steps. A popular spot for social media enthusiasts, no doubt teenagers will enjoy taking selfies at the top!
 

 

 
Marble Arch Caves and Lough Navar Forest Park are also close by as well as Corralea activity centre. The town of Enniskillen is only 5 minutes drive from Lough Erne if you fancy a change of scene. Make sure you pop into Francos for some good food in family friendly surroundings.

Read: Living it up at Lough Erne Resort

Check prices here
 

 

 

Intercontinental Hotel, Dublin 

Luxury family hotels in Dublin - Intercontinental Hotel, Dublin

We had the pleasure of staying in the Intercontinental Hotel recently and loved the experience. The standard family rooms are extremely spacious, I’m told the most spacious of all five-star hotels in Dublin. However if your budget allows, upgrade to one of the executive suites which have a balcony and can easily accommodate a family of five.
 

 

 
You can choose to dine in the Lobby Bar or the elegant Seasons Restaurant, both of which have superb kids menus, that are very well priced. There is a health club with a 14 metre pool which children can also avail of, and if you fancy a stroll before dinner, Sandymount beach and Herbert Park are both close by. 

Check prices here
 

 

 

Other options for family holidays in Ireland

 

Center Parcs Longford Forest, Longford

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert)


Although more a holiday resort than a hotel, Center Parcs Longford Forest is regarded as one of the best destinations for family holidays in Ireland. If you are looking for a unique family experience, with lots of activities on-site, then look no further. With over 100 activities for all the family including a subtropical swimming pool and a luxury spa, it really does tick all boxes for a family break in Ireland.

We visited during the summer time, and for their Winter Wonderland experience at Christmas time, and we loved it both times. 

The ultimate guide to Center Parcs

Winter wonderland at Center Parcs
 

 

 

Lusty Beg Island, Co. Fermanagh

family hotels in Northern Ireland - Lusty Beg Island

Lusty Beg Island is a 4-star 75 acre resort offering a relaxing self-catering stay in the heart of Fermanagh’s Lakelands. Lodges can accommodate up to six people, and are reached by a five-minute ferry ride. You have full use of the resorts swimming pool, spa, children’s playground and tennis courts. Off road driving, clay pigeon shooting, archery, canoeing and power boating are also available, as well as a delightful fairy trail.

The lodges are well equipped to enjoy cosy nights in, but if you want to venture out there is also a restaurant and bar available. This is also a pet-friendly resort.

View offer here
 

 

 

Airbnb options:

best airbnbs in Ireland near the beach

If you prefer to rent your own private house, I have posts on gorgeous Airbnbs near the beach, Airbnbs with swimming pools, as well as large homes for groups and extended families.

The best Airbnbs in Ireland near the beach

20 Airbnbs on the Wild Atlantic Way available in July & August

20 Airbnbs in Ireland with swimming pools

25 Airbnbs in Ireland for groups or large family holidays
 

 

 

Glamping Holidays:

Top Aiirbnb glamping sites in Ireland

Ireland has some fabulous glamping sites. I found many glamping pods, luxury bell tents, tree houses and even bubble domes. See more in these posts:

My top picks for glamping in Ireland

Top Airbnb glamping sites in Ireland
 

 

 
I hope this post on the best family hotels in Ireland will help you plan a family holiday in Ireland soon. It is important to note that some of the facilities / activities listed may not be operating to full capacity – please check with individual hotels and holiday home owners for clarification.

I always recommend booking a hotel or home with free cancellation in case there are any changes to the listed facilities that may not suit you.

These hotels and homes were researched independently. Some have links direct to the hotels websites, while others have my affiliate links attached to third party websites, where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

 

Sarah

 

Travel

10 Last Minute Family Hotel Deals in Ireland – 3 Night Stays from €329

Ireland family holiday

Looking for a last minute getaway? These three-night family hotel deals in Ireland might do the trick.

 

 

I understand that good family hotel deals in Ireland are hard to come by in July and August, so I’ve done all the hard work for you! I searched the web and found 10 great family deals departing in August. All deals are based on a three-night stay for a family of four, but some hotel rooms will sleep up to five.

Dates and durations can be changed, simply click on the links below and edit the search dates to suit your requirements. The links below are affiliate links, where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.

 

Instagram

 

It is important to note that some facilities may not be operating as usual during this time, I recommend booking a room with free cancellation incase there are any changes to facilities that may not suit you.  

 

 

1. Kilkenny Ormonde Hotel, Classic Room: €526

family hotel deals in Kilkenny

The Kilkenny Ormonde is practically a landmark in Kilkenny City, and is located just minutes away from the Medieval Mile. Its brasserie and lively bar attract locals as well as visitors, and it is the only city hotel in Kilkenny that has a leisure centre and spa. I’m just back from a fabulous few days in Kilkenny and found it a great city for a family staycation.

Read: Things to do in Kilkenny with kids

View offer here   
 

2. Montenotte Hotel, Cork, 2 bedroom Apartment: €833

 
Montenotte Hotel in Cork has self catering apartments on site
I have heard so many great things about the Montenotte Hotel, which has been recently refurbished and and offers stunning views of  Cork city. With a state of the art leisure centre, an in-house cinema and this cosy outdoor terrace, it is one of the most popular places to stay in Cork. There are various room types available but this price is based on a 2 bedroom apartment that sleeps up to four. 

View offer here
 

 

 

3. Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge, Dublin, Deluxe Family Room B&B: €329

family hotel deals in Dublin, Ireland

Ideally located in the upmarket suburb of Ballsbridge, the Clayton Hotel Ballsbridge has the advantage of being very close the city of Dublin without the corresponding crowds. Originally a 19th century Masonic School, it offers the perfect blend of tradition with contemporary decor, and is a great base to explore the capital with kids.
 

 

 

 

4. Radisson Blu Hotel & Spa, Limerick, Family Room: €384

The Radisson Blu Hotel and Spa has the advantage of being located on the borders of Limerick and Clare, so it is ideally situated if you want to explore Ireland’s scenic west coast. As well as a choice of dining options, it boasts a leisure centre, spa and even an outdoor hot tub! Kids will love the outdoor play area, swimming pool, and extensive grounds with a fairy garden.

View offer here
 

 

 

5. Parkavon Hotel Killarney, Family Room: €492

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


The Parkavon Hotel is ideally perfectly located within walking distance of Killarney town centre and Killarney National Park. It also boasts a leisure centre which should keep the kids happy. This is great value for a family stay in Killarney.

View offer here
 

 

 

6. Bayview Hotel, Killybegs, Donegal, Family Room B&B Sleeps 5, €447  

The popular Bayview Hotel is located in the pretty fishing town of Killybegs in Donegal. With the Wild Atlantic Way on your doorstep, this is an ideal base to explore Donegal’s stunning coastline.

View offer here
 

 

 

7. Hotel Curracloe, Wexford, Quad Room B&B, €447 

Curracloe Beach

The Hotel Curracloe is a small hotel with just 29 rooms, and is located just minutes from the famous Curracloe Beach in County Wexford. Wexford Town is just a five minute drive away, and one of my favourite family attractions in Ireland,  The Irish National Heritage Park is also close by.

Read: 5 Things to do in Wexford with kids

View offer here
 

 

 

8. Maldron Hotel Sandy Road, Galway, Family Room, sleeps 5 B&B, €426  

best self catering breaks in Ireland

Located within walking distance of Galway City and with a kids club on site, this is a great choice for family staycation in Galway this summer. 

View offer here
 

 

 

9. Maldron Hotel, Wexford, Family Room €498

 
A family friendly hotel, the Maldron Hotel Wexford boasts an indoor pool, two outdoor playgrounds, a mini-golf course and family friendly activities during school holidays. It is also close to Wexford’s top attractions including the Irish National Heritage Park,  Johnstown Castle and Gardens, and Wexford’s beautiful beaches.
 
 

View offer here
 

 

 

10. Fitzgeralds Woodlands House Hotel, Adare, Limerick, Family Room B&B €603

family breaks in ireland

Located in the pretty village  of Adare, this family owned, award winning hotel boasts three restaurants, a spa and leisure centre. With the Cliffs of Moher and Clare’s beaches just a short drive away, this is an ideal location to explore the Wild Atlantic Way.

View offer here
 

 

 
I hope this post on family hotel deals in Ireland will help you get away this summer.  It is important to note that some of the facilities / activities listed may not be operating to full capacity – please check with individual hotel for clarification. I always recommend booking a room with free cancellation incase there are any changes to the listed facilities that may not suit you. 

These deals were researched across various hotel booking sites. When you make a booking you do so via a third party website. Prices are correct at the time of publishing but may change. Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links where I receive a small commission if a booking is made, but at no additional cost to you.  Read more in my privacy policy.

 
 
 

Like this post? You might like:

The best beach hotels in Ireland – my top 20 picks

Top picks for glamping in Ireland

20 Hotels with lodges in Ireland
 

 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

Travel

10 Family Breaks in Ireland, With Prices from €139!

waterford family

Looking for family breaks in Ireland this summer? I’ve got ten great deals to tempt you. All of my top picks are family hotels and houses, and most have swimming pools onsite!

 

I have teamed up with Groupon who offer a wide variety of family breaks in Ireland and abroad, with up to 50% off the recommended retail price. I have chosen a wide variety of family friendly hotels, some with kids clubs and swimming pools, others are self catering holiday homes.

groupon family breaks in ireland

There are lots of dates to choose from and in most cases you can check availability directly on the Groupon website – under the Fine Print & Details Tab. I have priced all deals for two nights, but most deals have shorter and longer durations available, just click on the links below for full details of each offer. I’ve got city hotels, holiday resorts and even forest lodges, from various counties in Ireland –  hopefully one of these family breaks in Ireland will suit you 😊

4-Bedroom Mount Wolseley Resort Houses, Co. Carlow: From €310 – Sleeps up to 7 

Famous for its championship golf course and award-winning spa, Mount Wolseley is also ideal for family breaks in Ireland. With 4-bedroom self catering lodges on the grounds of the resort, families have full access to all the hotel facilities including 20 metre swimming pool, kiddies pool, zip lining, soft play area, and a teen zone which is open until 11pm daily. There is also a kids club for children aged 4-12 during summer holidays, mid term breaks and Easter and Christmas holidays. This super deal also includes €10 credit for a round of golf,  and it is valid until December 2020!

family breaks in ireland - mount wolseley self catering lodges

 

Price of €310 includes a two-night stay for up to 7 people in a four-bedroom self catering lodge, with €20 per person spa credit on treatments over €90, €10 per person credit for a round of golf once during your stay, and 20% discount on Afternoon Tea. Price for three nights is €399. Valid Sunday – Thursday until 17th December.

View offer here

 

3-Bedroom Ballyhoura Mountain Lodges, Co Limerick: From €299, 7 Nights from €399 – Sleep up to 6.

For families looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life, the Ballyhoura Mountain Lodges are the perfect choice. Set amongst the forest in the Ballyhoura Mountains, midway between Limerick and Cork, are five luxury eco-friendly holiday homes. These 3-bedroom lodges are furnished to a high standard, receive excellent reviews and have been awarded TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence. They are suitable for adults, children, elderly and also allow pets! The immediate area is ideal for hiking and kids will love exploring the forest. There is also a local pub just 5-minutes away in the village of Ballyorgan. 

ballyhoura forest lodges

 

Price of €299 includes a two-night stay for up to six people in a luxury forest home with welcome pack, including a bottle of wine, towel rental, and starter wood pack for the stove. Price is €319 for three nights, €329 for four nights and €399 for seven nights. Valid until 20th October. 

View offer here

 

Malone Lodge, Belfast: From €229 With Breakfast & Dinner for 2 adults & 2 children

This Victorian town-house hotel, situated in the Queens University Quarter of Belfast, is a wonderful choice for a family break in Northern Ireland. Visit the Titanic Museum, explore the nearby Causeway Coast and Game of Thrones locations. I enjoyed a family break here a few years ago. The kids loved walking across the Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge, and listening to the legend of giant Finn McCool at the Giant’s Causeway.

Read: A magical few days along the Causeway Coast

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


Price of €229 includes a two-night stay for 2 adults and 2 children with breakfast, glass of Prosecco for each adult and milk and cookies for each child on arrival, two-course family dinner on the first night, children activity pack in the room, and late check-out.  Want to stay for three nights? The price is just €319. Valid until December 2020. 

View offer here

 

Shearwater Hotel & Spa, Co. Galway: From €179 for 2 adults & 2 children 

Recently refurbished, the popular Galway hotel boasts an elegant interior, with a luxurious lobby and an inviting Library. There is a 20-meter swimming pool, an awarding-winning spa and there is live entertainment every Friday – Sunday. The onsite kids club caters from tots to teens with games, activities and movie nights. 

hotel deals in ireland with swimming pools
 
Price of €239 includes a two-night stay for 2 adults and 2 children (under 12) in a family suite, with full Irish breakfast, a glass of prosecco, €10 per adult spa credit, full use of leisure facilities and a late check-out of 1pm. Want to stay for three nights? The price is €249. Valid until 30th September, additional charge for Friday, Saturday and bank holiday Sunday. 

View offer here

 

3-Bedroom Lakeside Holiday Homes, Co. Clare: From €139 – Sleeps up to 6

Located on the shores of Lough Derg, close to Mountshannon village, this is a great choice for families looking for plenty of outdoor activities. Fishing, cycling, horse riding, and golf are all close by, and these holiday homes come with a private jetty if you want to hire your own boat.  Pets are also allowed for a supplement of €25.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

Price of €139 includes a two-night stay up to six people in a three-bedroom holiday home. Price for 3 nights is €179, 5 nights is €299 and 7 nights is €349. Valid until 30th June.

View offer here

 

Sligo Park Hotel & Leisure Club: From €218 for 2 adults & 2 children

This family hotel enjoys the best of both worlds. Located along the Wild Atlantic Way, but also on the edge of Sligo Town, you can enjoy the scenic countryside, as well as Sligo’s lively town centre. Recently refurbished, with contemporary furnishings and a super Leisure Club, this is a great choice for family breaks in Ireland. Family activities during mid-term and school holidays include movie nights, fun float obstacle course in the swimming pool, as well as an outdoor fairy trail and treasure hunt.
 

Price of €158 includes a two-night stay for two people. Two children (under 12) can stay in the room, for a supplement of €15 per child per night including breakfast. Children under 2 are free of charge.  Valid until 31st March 2021, €50 supplement for Saturday night stay.

View offer here
 

Quality Hotel Youghal Apartments, Co. Cork: From €149, 3 Nights from €219 – Sleep up to 6.

The beachfront apartments and houses in the Quality Hotel Youghal have been a firm favourite with families for many years. Enjoy all the facilities of a hotel, while staying in spacious self catering accommodation. With a gym, spa and swimming pool on site, you will be spoilt for choice. Special events, a Kids Camp and movie shows are also available throughout school holidays. The resort has a range of dining options, including bar food, pizzas available for take-away, and fine dining in the Capel Island Restaurant. Musical entertainment is also available in the Coast Bar.

quality hotel youghal

Price of €149 includes a two-night stay in an apartment for up to four people. Choose a luxury house (sleep up to 6) from €159 for two nights. Price for three nights is €219 and €249 respectively. A €10 spa voucher per person is also included towards a treatment costing €40 or above. Valid until the 30th of June.
 

 

Lough Allen Hotel & Spa, Co. Leitrim: From €199 for 2 adults & 2 children 

The Lough Allen Hotel & Spa is located on the shores of Lough Allen and within walking distance of the pretty town of Drumshanbo. With a swimming pool, spa and fully-equipped gym on site, you can enjoy a wide range of fitness and yoga classes while the kids play happily in the kids club. The are plenty of outdoor activities available too, including family walking trails, cycling, horse riding, kayaking and golf. 

lough allen family breaks in ireland

Price of €199 includes a two-night stay for 2 adults and 2 children ( under 12 ) in a standard family room with breakfast, complimentary kids club (primary school), €20 spa voucher per adult (redeemable against treatment of €60 or over). Price for three-night stay is €249. Valid midweek and weekends from 1st May – 30th September, excludes July and August.

View offer here
 

Fota Island Resort, Co. Cork: 3 Bedroom Lodges from €299

We are big fans of Fota Island Resort – we stayed in their contemporary lodges twice, during summer and winter and loved the experience. The lodges are beautifully furnished and the hotel has great facilities for all the family including a swimming pool, good-sized playground, fairy trail, spa and golf course. There are so many family activities nearby too. A trip to Fota Wildlife Park is a must, this deal also includes €10 credit towards the admission price. You can also visit the nearby Titanic Experience in Cobh.  
 
 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

Price of €299 includes two-night stay in a three-bed lodge for up to five people with two VIP spa passes, 2 x €20 spa credit for full-price treatment of €100 or more, €20 dining credit towards a three-course meal for 2 people, €20 golf credit between two people towards a round of golf on any of the three championship golf. These lodges that sleep 5 are onsite with full use of the resort facilities. Valid until 30th May.  
 
 
 

Hotel Killarney, Co. Kerry: From €179 for 2 adults & 1 child, €249 for 2 adults & 3 children.

The Hotel Killarney is well known for its family-friendly facilities. There is a swimming pool, sports hall and gym onsite, as well as a Friendly Fellows Kids Club with regular live shows, Crazy Cube Play Centre and indoor soccer. Family suites are available for families with three children. There is a choice of dining options with nutritious kids menus. As well as the superb family facilities on site, a boat trip on Killarney Lakes is sure to be a big hit with all the family. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

Price of €149 includes a two-night stay for two adults. One child 3-18 years may stay in a standard room for a supplement of €15 per night breakfast included. Two or three children aged 3-18 may stay in a Family Suite for an upgrade supplement of €40 (with two children) or €50 (with three children). Breakfast is included. Children under 3 years old may stay free of charge, cot will be provided. Valid until 30th April.

View offer here
 

 

Prices are correct at the time of issue and are subject to change. Note some of the links in this post are affiliate links, where I receive a small commission if a booking is made. This post on great family breaks in Ireland was sponsored by Groupon, but all views, as always, are my own. 

  

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here

 

 

 
Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 
 
Family HolidaysHolidays in Ireland

Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs – Why You Should Visit & My Top Tips

alex-christmas-tree-center-parcs-compressor (1)

With 57,600 fairy lights, 90 Christmas trees and 3 tonnes of snow, you can imagine the excitement when we arrived to Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs Longford Forest. 

 

‘It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas’ was on repeat on my Spotify playlist, and despite the fact that it was only the 8th of November, I was as excited as the kids! We were fortunate to be invited to Center Parcs Longford Forest for the opening in July, and after a fabulous few days we couldn’t wait to return. Temperatures in July were over 20 degrees. During Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs the average was only 4 degrees, but surprisingly that didn’t matter.

 

instagram center parcs

 

The outdoor swimming pool reminded me of the Blue Lagoon – the combination of the hot pool (29.5 degrees) against the crisp cold air was invigorating. Cycling around the resort was just as enjoyable as it was during the summer time, once we were wrapped up with hats and gloves. Even the biodegradable snow suited the temperatures perfectly!
 
winter wonderland at center parcs
 
All we could see from 5pm was thousands of fairy lights lighting up the resort. The whole village was illuminated – it was an amazing sight. Garlands filled with twinkling lights lined the lake, and massive Christmas baubles beamed in the village. The Christmas tree at Santa’s Woodland Workshop is 10 meters tall and has 4,450 lights! The whole experience was magical and one that all of us throughly enjoyed. It was, to coin the phrase from Center Parcs – Epic Family Time. As I write my my 12 top tips for visiting Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs, I am already planning my next visit…

winter wonderland at center parcs
 

 


 

** Edit – Please note this review was written in December 2019. There may be restrictions to activities including the swimming pool due to Covid-19. Please check if there are any updates to activities with Center Parcs directly, before making a booking. 

1. If price is a factor, book a Woodland Lodge. 

All of the lodges in Center Parcs are modern, spacious and well equipped. We stayed in a Woodland Lodge during the Winter Wonderland experience and an Executive Lodge during the summer. I found very little difference between the two, especially if you are staying for a short break. The executive lodges have house-keeping services, TV’s in all rooms and all bedrooms are ensuite – but otherwise they are very similar. 

woodland lodge at center parcs ireland
 

 

 

2. Book a lodge close to the village centre

With rain being a common occurrence during Irish winters, I would recommend paying an additional €49 to stay in a lodge close to the village centre. Although we loved cycling, it is nice to walk to the village and the swimming pool if the rain is heavy – wet saddles are not very pleasant either! This is also a great solution for anyone who doesn’t want to rent bicycles.

winter wonderland center parcs

 

 

 

3. Enjoy a cosy night in

Pop down to the Parc Market when you arrive and pick up some supplies and some fire logs – you can buy three for €6. Treat yourself to dinner from the extensive Dining In menu and light the fire! We did this the night we arrived and it was a great success. We ordered four different types of cuisine: Pizza, Thai, Indian and Asian, and all meals were delivered to our lodge at the same time. The pizza was a big hit, and I loved the prawn rogan josh. Prices were reasonable too, you could even order a bottle of wine to your lodge for €13.95! Make sure you order early, as popular delivery times get booked out. 

dining in center parcs
 

 

 

4. Book a Santa Visit

You need to book the Santa Experience separately. The cost is €18 per child and parents are free. Each child receives a gift and a free photograph afterwards. We thought this was great value. Envelopes will be left in your lodge, one for children to write their Santa letters, and another for parents to help keep the Christmas magic alive… There is a post box in Santa’s Woodland Village where the kids can post their letters before their visit.  

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 

 

 
Depending on the age of your children, try to book a Santa visit at night time. The Woodland trail is all lit up and it adds to the experience. If the night time slots happen to be booked out, don’t panic. Santa’s Woodland Village is lit up every night and you can walk through it anytime. The Santa visit lasts about 10 minutes, so if you are booking a restaurant, book the time for a half hour after your scheduled Santa visit.  

winter wonderland at center parcs longford

 

 

 

5. Pre-book restaurants

I tried to book restaurants two-weeks in advance, and still only managed to get 9pm slots. You don’t have to pre-book the Sports Cafè, but it can be quite noisy and I didn’t think the food was as good there as it was in other restaurants. If you have young children it is vital you book restaurants in advance, especially if you want early sittings. The restaurants are extremely family friendly, with kids play areas and great kids menus.

There isn’t evening entertainment in the resort, with the exception of live music in Cara’s Restaurant every Saturday and Tuesday at 8.30pm. We booked Cara’s for Saturday night and really enjoyed listening to The Dixie Micks. The menu was limited, but the food was very tasty.

caras restaurant at center parcs longford forest
 

 

 
We also enjoyed Bella Italia. We dined there twice and found the food great, and reasonably priced. There is a wide selection of pasta dishes, and not just the typical spaghetti bolognese. The Cacio e Pepe pasta: a mix of roast chicken, pancetta and pecorino cheese in a tasty wild garlic and black pepper sauce, is delicious. I had this during the summer too! I also love that they have a Piccolo kids menu for 3-6 year olds (€6.95) and a Grande kids menu for for 7-11 year olds, (€8.95).  I’ve been told that the Carbonara isn’t great so maybe avoid that! 

winter wonderland at center parcs

 

 

 

6. Pre-book activities

Popular activities like the Aerial Adventure, where you Zipline across the lake at Center Parcs, get booked out very early. We did this during the summer and loved it – well it scared the hell out of myself and Cormac, but the kids loved it! Luke and Alex wanted to book it again but it was booked out throughout the weekend – I can’t say I was too disappointed…

center parcs longford forest ireland
 

 

 
Festive activities like the Festive Pony Rides and Festive Chocolate Chefs (age 3-7) are particularly popular with younger children and also need to be booked in advance. You don’t need to pre book too many activities though, one or two activities should be ample on a short stay, as you will probably spend a lot of time in the pool.

winter wonderland at center parcs longford
 

 

 
We really enjoyed the Festive Treasure Trail. It is a super family activity and one I would encourage all families to do. We were given a map with nine wooden markers to find around the forest. There were clues on each one and once we had all nine, we had to report back to the booking desk to collect our prize. We were competing against lots of different families and I was surprised how competitive we all were. However despite racing around the forest in just over an hour, we came 4th! It was a simple but very enjoyable family activity and a great way to explore the whole resort. Price is €5.50 for children under 12 and €6.50 for 12+years.

treasure trail at center parcs longford forest
 

 

 
Luke and Cormac loved the Laser Clay Shoot. It was Luke’s first time to try this and he was a natural. He not only came first place within the group, but he set a new record score for Center Parcs Longford Forest – he was delighted with himself. I have no doubt it was due to too much Fortnite, but it was a great achievement nonetheless! Price €27 per adult, €23 per child.

laser clay shoot at center parcs longford forest
 

 

 
Myself and Alex opted for the Festive Roller Skating. It is a handy indoor activity if the weather is bad. I didn’t find it particularly festive, but I was delighted that despite being 30 years since I has last on skates, I was able to keep up with Alex! Price €9.50 per person.

roller skating at center parcs longford forest

See more info on activities and restaurants in my Ultimate Guide to Centre Parcs Longford Forest

 

7. Don’t miss the Light and Sound Show

The Winter Wonderland light and sound show takes place over the lake every Sunday and Wednesday evening during Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs. Unfortunately it was lashing rain during our visit, but nevertheless, the 9-minute animation was really impressive. There are animals, fish and even snowmen projected on to the water, with the North Pole and Santa Claus in the finale. It takes place right outside The Pancake House so it might be an idea to pop in for one of their delicious ice cream sundaes before it starts! I am told they have mulled wine and mince pies too.

pancake house at center parcs longford forest

 

 

 

8. Check out the shops

I was really surprised by some of the prices in the shops. Luke picked up a Harry Potter Lego set in JustKids that was cheaper than Smyths. I bought a lovely Christmas decoration in The Store Room – it wasn’t particularly cheap, but was a lovely souvenir. You may not have considered it, but you may pick up some Christmas gifts in Center Parcs. Ask about the 10% off promotional evening – this is on twice per week.

christmas at center parcs
 

 

 

9. Come early and stay late

Although the official check-in time to your lodge is 3pm, you can access the resort from 10am. Similarly on the day you are leaving, you need to vacate your lodge by 10am, but are free to stay and enjoy the facilities as long as possible. We did the later and enjoyed a fabulous day at the pool…

swimming pool at center parcs longford forest
 

 

 

10. Spend your last day at the pool

We loved the subtropical swimming pool during the summer, but it was equally as good this time. We tried all the slides numerous times but our favourites were the Wild Water Rapids (need to be a competent swimmer), and Tropical Cyclone – a tube ride that we could all go on together, (minimum height 122 cm).

winter wonderland at center parcs
 

 

 
Once you have checked out, you can leave your suitcases in your car, return your bikes and walk down to the pool. The pool is quieter on changeover days too. You can shower afterwards, dry your hair in the vanity room, and leave for home feeling refreshed. There is a cafe beside the swimming pool so you can even pick up lunch there. The chicken wraps and burgers were tasty – as fast food goes, it was pretty good. 

cafe at center parcs longford forest

There are large cabanas in the Subtropical Swimming Pool. These are equipped with TVs, towels and soft drinks. Priced from €50 for three hours, they can be a great help if you have a small child who needs a nap, and older children who want to stay at the pool. 

cabana at center parcs longford forest
 

 

 

11. Bring warm clothes and a back pack.

Remember just because you are on holidays, don’t forget you are in Ireland! Gloves and hats are a must if you are cycling, and don’t even think about wearing skirts on a bike…Most people tend to dress casually, even in restaurants. Backpacks are a Godsend for the pool and are easier than hand bags when cycling.

winter wonderland at center parcs

 

 

 

12. Just book it!

If you haven’t already booked it – do it! Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs is an amazing family experience and one that all the family will love. If price is an issue, check out the prices for midweek (Monday – Friday) rather than weekend, (Friday – Monday).  Winter Wonderland short breaks start from €459 for a family of four in a 2 bedroom Woodland Lodge. Christmas and New Year short breaks are also available – you can dine in the resorts restaurants, or even cook a turkey in your own lodge! However if you are unable to go this year – all is not lost! You can book Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs for 2020 already. For availability and prices visit CenterParcs.ie

winter wonderland at center parcs lights
 

 

 

Like this post? You might like:

How to claim money back with the Spend & Save scheme

Ultimate Guide to Center Parcs Longford Forest

How to save money at Center Parcs Ireland

 

** Edit – Please note this review was written in December 2019. There may be restrictions to activities including the swimming pool due to Covid-19. Please check if there are any updates to activities with Center Parcs directly, before making a booking. 
 
 
Note we were guests of Winter Wonderland at Center Parcs, but all views, as always, are my own. 
 

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

 

 

 

Holidays in Ireland

Castles, Caves, Camping, Cycling…So Many Things to do in the Munster Vales

munster-vales--compressor

We cycled, swam, foraged for seaweed and even went axe throwing! We explored castles, caves and a cottage – all while staying in a wonderful eco camp. With 96 attractions and 1,100km of walking trails, check out my top things to do in the Munster Vales.

 

With both of my parents from Tralee, I spent countless summer holidays in Kerry. My brother has been living in Cork for the past 30 years too, so between visits to Cork and Kerry, I reckon that I have driven through the Munster Vales over 200 times. I recall driving through Cahir and seeing Cahir Castle, but never stopping. Mitchelstown Cave was another marker for me – when we passed the sign I knew it would not be long until we reached our destination.
 

 

 
When Munster Vales asked me to spend a weekend enjoying some of its top attractions, I was delighted to see both Cahir Castle and Mitchelstown Cave on the list. The Munster Vales stretches over 1,100km through Cork, Limerick, Tipperary and Waterford and incorporates five different mountain ranges. It is also home to some of the top things to do in Ireland, as well as some hidden gems.  

zipline munster vales ballyhass lakes

Cahir Castle and Swiss Cottage: Cahir, Tipperary

Cahir Castle was our first stop and, contrary to what the song says, it is not a long long way to Tipperary – it is less than two hours from Dublin. Cahir is a delightful town. Located on the banks of the River Suir, with colourful streets, and the medieval Cahir Castle, it was a great start to our adventure in the Munster Vales.

cahir castle tipperary - one of the top things to do in the munster vales
 

 

 
Cahir Castle is one of Ireland’s largest and best-preserved castles. Its location on a rocky island in the middle of the river adds an air of prosperity to the town. The castle fell into the hands of the Anglo-Norman Butler family in the 14th century and, despite many sieges, retains much of its original structure. There are some small exhibitions inside, as well as an audio-visual show, but it was the dining hall that impressed me the most. It is hard not to notice the 10,000-year-old giant elk antlers that grace the far wall as you enter the room. The windows are eye-catching too, and reflect the light beautifully. This medieval room holds traditional music sessions every Tuesday evening – a wonderful experience, I am sure.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

 
 

 

 
The 2km walkway from Cahir Castle to the Swiss Cottage is a delight in itself, and is the start of the Suir Blueway, a relatively new experience with over 56km of walking trails, 53km of paddling experiences and a 21km cycle route. Swiss Cottage was built in the early 1800s to a design by the famous architect John Nash (of Buckingham Palace fame). It has been beautifully restored and the short guided tour gives a wonderful insight into wealthy lifestyle at that time.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 

 

 

Nire Valley Eco Camp

We left Swiss Cottage for a short drive to the newly opened Nire Valley Eco Camp, our home for the next two nights. We were warmly greeted by Ruth, Paul and their rescue dog, Milo. As we walked through the meadow to get to our cabin, I knew immediately I was going to like it here. The views of the Comeragh Mountains were spectacular, and all five cabins had acres of space around them – it felt like we had the place to ourselves.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


Our cabin was beautifully furnished with a large comfortable bed and a bathroom with shower and toilet. The kids loved their beds on the mezzanine level. The first thing that struck me was the heat: the cabins were roasting inside. I was interested to learn about how these eco-cabins were built. All of the electricity comes from solar panels, and hot water for showers and heating in winter comes from a biogas gas boiler. Ruth and Paul chose specific locally sourced materials, not only because of their resistance to rot, but they didn’t need any paint or chemicals to preserve them.
 

 

 

 
Another thing that sets it apart from other glamping sites is the breakfast! Ruth arrived every morning with a large picnic basket full of delights. All the foods were locally sourced, with free-range eggs, delicious fruit and hot, freshly baked brown bread. On our second morning Ruth made fresh pancake mix for the kids – just because it was Sunday! We were able to sit outside and enjoy a delicious breakfast in the morning sunshine. It was wonderful – although unfortunately during the month of August the wasps wanted to join us for breakfast too!

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 

 

 
Nire Valley Eco Camp is located near the small town of Ballymacarbry. There are two pubs in the village, but not too many restaurant choices. We dined in the Galileo Cafe in Clonmel, a good family friendly restaurant with a BYOB policy. A little closer to the camp is Hanora’s Cottage. This is a traditional Irish Country House with a restaurant on site and is less than 10 minutes drive from Nire Valley Eco Camp. The room was homely and the food was hearty – they even served potatoes in their jackets! They were nice and floury, just as my Mum would make. They make their own breads, sauces, dressings, chutneys, jams and ice-creams on site, and grow a lot of their own produce. All other ingredients are locally sourced. The seafood chowder and seared Kilmore scallops with Inch House black pudding were both tasty starters, and although main courses were good too, the portion sizes are huge. 

hanoras cottage nire valley munster vales

Nire Valley Eco Camp is ideally located for exploring the Munster Vales. It is only 30 minutes drive from Cahir and just over an hour to our next stop, Ballyhass Lakes in Cork.
 

 

 

Ballyhass Lakes, Mallow, Cork

We had a great time at Ballyhass Adventure Centre – the staff and the facilities are superb. After our nerve- wracking experience at Center Parcs, I don’t know how we managed to get back on another zipline. The staff at Ballyhass Adventure Centre were so encouraging and, well, basically gave us no choice! We had to take a zipline across the lake to try crate-stacking. This was a new activity to me, but was such good fun. Luke and Alex tried it first and then myself and Cormac followed. We had to pile crates on top of each other while tied to high ropes. The object is to try to stack as many crates as possible on top of each other without falling off. Needless to say we didn’t last too long, but we had great fun trying!

crate staking ballyhass lakes
 

 

 
We then spent a little time in the Aquapark, one of the most popular activities available. There are numerous inflatable slides and bouncing castles on the lake, and it is suitable for children age six and upwards. We had the best fun on the ringos though, another first for all of us. We had to hold on to inflatable rings while we were zipped across the surface of the water by a cable at speeds of 25km per hour! 

ballyhass lakes - one of the top things to do in the munster vales with kids
 

 

 
There are over 20 different outdoor activities here, including wakeboarding, kayaking, raft building and high ropes. We also tried axe throwing – another first! I was surprised at how easy it was to hit the target, and it’s a great way to let off steam. Needless to say, this is not suitable for children.

axe throwing munster

You can choose just to use the Aquapark, €20 per hour for adults and €15 for children, or choose various packages with multiple activities. Many require a minimum of eight people so it is best to check with the website before booking.

ballyhass lakes - one of the top things to do in the munster vales with kids
 

 

 

Mitchelstown Cave, Tipperary

The first thing I learned about Mitchelstown Cave, is that they are actually in Tipperary – I always assumed it was in Cork! I was delighted I finally got a chance to visit this landmark that I had passed by so many times. One of Europe’s best showcaves, Mitchelstown Cave is really impressive. The short 30-minute guided tour makes it suitable to visit for both adults and children. Found accidentally by a farmer in 1833, the entrance to the Cave remains in the same spot and tickets are still purchased in the same farmhouse near the cave entrance.

mitchelstown cave munster vales
 

 

 
After descending 88 steep steps, we arrived into the first of three massive caverns. It reminded me of my school days: there were hundreds of stalagmites and stalactites, one of the few things I remembered from geography class! Concerts are held here throughout the year. The superb acoustics and the natural auditorium must ensure a unique experience.

mitchelstown cave one of the top things to do in the munster vales

 

Dungarvan and The Waterford Greenway, Waterford

After a wonderful two nights in Nire Valley Eco camp, it was time to check-out and drive to our next destination in the Munster Vales, County Waterford. We took The Vee drive, a spectacular route that overlooks three counties, valleys and mountain ranges. Despite my constant requests to stop for photos, we still managed to arrive in Dungarvan in time for lunch.

The Vee drive in the Munster Vales
 

 

 
Dungarvan is the foodie capital of Waterford. We dined in 360 Cookhouse, which is located beside King John’s Castle and the WW1 Memorial Wall, in Dungarvan’s culinary quarter. It was the best meal we had throughout our stay. It is extremely family friendly. Mini Connect 4 and Dominoes are supplied at the table to discourage the use of mobiles, and they even allow pets! I would recommend 360 Cookhouse for couples and singles too. The food and service were excellent and the prices were reasonable. I loved the Castletownbere Dressed Crab and Cormac still talks about the Beetroot & Blackwater Gin Cured Salmon Gravalax – and they were just the starters! Our mains were tasty too, as was the Chocolate Crunchie Mousse with Vanilla Ice Cream.

360 cookhouse dungarvan
 

 

 
Dungarvan is the finishing point of the Waterford Greenway. This walking and cycle track stretches for 46km from Waterford City to Dungarvan, and I had wanted to cycle it since it opened in 2017. With two kids in tow, 46km wasn’t an option, so we drove to Durrow and opted for the 10km route back to Dungarvan. We rented our bikes from TheGreenwayman.com in Durrow. Garvan Cummins, the owner, is one of the original campaigners for the Waterford Greenway and also happens to offer some the best rates. Bike-hire is priced at just €15 per adult and €10 per child per day. Some of his competitors charge €25 per day.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 

 

 
Garvan kitted us out with the correct bikes and cycled with us on the start of our journey, pointing out some of the highlights on the route. This short route from Durrow to Dungarvan is often described as the most picturesque, and it wasn’t long before I could see why. We cycled along Clonea Strand, underneath the Ballyvoyle Tunnel and through a wonderful fairy trail. We also crossed the Ballyvoyle viaduct, which was blown up in 1922 during the civil war. Garvan encouraged us to cycle the opposite direction for about 1km to see the Durrow Viaduct too, as well as the ruins of the Durrow train station. We all really enjoyed our cycle, despite a sudden downpour towards the end. This part of the track is so easy to cycle, we practically glided for about 4km.

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on


 
We arrived into Dungarvan feeling extremely satisfied and Garvan was there to meet us to bring us back to Durrow to pick up our car. This is a wonderful service and amazing value for money. 
 

 

 
After a short drive back to Dungarvan, we checked into The Park Hotel for our last night. Although only a 3-star hotel, its convenient location, combined with a leisure centre on site, make it a good option for a family stay. Dungarvan is a pretty town and one I wanted to explore, but we were all pretty tired after the preceding 48 hours, so decided to dine in our hotel that evening. We will have to come back and try some more of its world-class restaurants that I keep hearing about.

the park hotel dungarvan
 

 

 

Copper Coast Geopark

On our last morning we drove another one of Waterford’s scenic drives, the Copper Coast Drive. This stretches along the coast from Dungarvan to Tramore with stunning seascapes, beautiful beaches and over 460 million years of history. Once home to the biggest copper mining industry within the British Empire, this rugged coastline is home to the Copper Coast Geopark, which was declared a UNESCO Global Geopark in 2004.

copper coast drive
 

 

 
We paid a visit to the visitor centre where the kids enjoyed interacting with the augmented reality sandbox – don’t worry I had no idea what it was either! Through the use of technology and software from MIT in Boston, as well as an XBOX 360, this sandbox shows the changes in the topography of the landscape over time. It is the only one of its kind in Ireland! I was fascinated to learn that this visitor centre is primarily a social enterprise – make sure you pay it a visit if you are near the area. 

copper coast geopark visitor centre - munster vales
 

 

 
One of its volunteers, Bruce (originally from Sydney, Australia), brought us to the nearby beaches of Kilmurren and Bunmahon. We went foraging for seaweed and even learned how to use it to make sushi rolls. Bruce was so good with Luke and Alex. They searched rock pools and found crabs, sea anemones and learned all about the sea creatures that frequent our coastline. 

 

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

A post shared by Sarah Slattery – Travel Expert (@the_travel_expert) on

These tours can be booked on the Copper Coast Geopark website, along with surf lessons and sand art workshops. Don’t miss a visit to the nearby Tankardsown mines too, where you can see the old mine workings and get the best views of the Copper Coast.

things to do in the Munster Vales - copper coast geopark
 

 

 
It was finally time to leave the Copper Coast and the Munster Vales behind. As we drove our short drive back to Dublin, I wondered why I never stopped at some of these places before. I started thinking about how many more of Ireland’s hidden gems have I, and many of us, passed by. Isn’t it time we all explored our home country? With 96 attractions, nine heritage sites and 1,100km of walking trails, the Munster Vales is a good place to start.

 

Thanks to Munster Vales for organising our trip. All views, as always, are my own.

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

Holidays in Ireland

Christmas time at the Connacht Hotel, Galway

Connacht hotel

We had the pleasure of spending an overnight in the Connacht Hotel in Galway recently. Our annual Santa visit took us to the Aillwee Cave this year so we decided to overnight in Galway the night before.

 

We set off on Saturday from Dublin and were there within 2 hours. The rooms were bright, modern and very spacious. Although we were only staying for one night, there was a separate living area with a kitchen which was ideal for a longer stay. WiFi is fast and free too! We dropped the bags, decided to have a quick wander around Galway and avail of the hotel’s facilities in the evening.

Connacht Hotel

The centre of Galway city is a 25 minute walk or €10 in a taxi so if you don’t fancy driving, it is easily accessible. Once you arrive in Eyre Square the lights are dazzling. Christmas market stalls are everywhere and the atmosphere is terrific. Many are happily shopping for Christmas decorations and gifts while others enjoy the hot food or mulled wine. We decided to do all of the above! The fun fair had some great rides including a large ferris wheel as well as some money making stalls like ‘ how to knock the elf off the shelf’. My kids were intrigued but despite watching for 15 minutes, not one person managed to do it! As the light fades the Christmas lights are even more impressive. Shop Street is pretty cool at any time of the year but at Christmas time it is magical.

Connacht Hotel

After a thoroughly enjoyable few hours we went back to the hotel for a ‘promised’ swim.   The swimming pool at the Connacht Hotel is fantastic. There are jacuzzis, swim lanes and ample room for adults and children to swim. Incidentally the hotel attracts many sports groups. The Treviso Rugby team were staying there when we were there, suffice to say it is very well equipped for sports enthusiasts. Not only is the 20 metre swimming pool impressive but they have fantastic fitness and exercise studios ( 40 classes each week) and a 24 hour gym.

Connacht Hotel

The family facilities at the Connacht Hotel are excellent. There is a wide selection of activities at various times during the day. From arts and crafts to talent shows, Wii games to movies, there is plenty to keep the kids happy. The Friendly Fellows kids club opens until 10pm and there was a movie on from 8 while we were there. It’s a great option for kids who don’t necessarily want games or arts and crafts, but just want to chill out and watch a movie. There is a play area for younger kids but parents need to be present.

Connacht Hotel

We dined in the hotel that evening and this was another welcome surprise. If you book a package including an evening meal, the menu is very extensive. Not a buffet in sight (my pet hate at dinner time!). Everything is included in the cost, with the exception of the 10oz sirlion steak which carries a €6 supplement. I went for the chicken curry while my husband had the beer battered cod and chips, both were really tasty. You can eat in the bar or restaurant and both have a great lively atmosphere. If you want a quiet romantic meal for two, go elsewhere! Live music started at 10pm but an Irish take on Garth Brooks wouldn’t be my choice, so we opted for an early night. Breakfast was excellent, lots of choice, pancakes to Irish pudding, we checked out quite content!

Connacht Hotel

The Connacht is a great choice for a family vacation at Christmas or any time. They have large family rooms and apartments on site, a host of activities for kids and a great family fun atmosphere. For prices and availability on the Connacht hotel click here.

 

Like holidays in Ireland? See more here.

 

Sarah

The Travel Expert Sarah Slattery

Pin It on Pinterest